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The Iranians: Persia, Islam and the Soul of a Nation (edition 1998)
by Sandra Mackey (Author)
The Iranians: Persia, Islam and the Soul of a Nation by Sandra Mackey
Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0452275636, Paperback)The Iranians chronicles the history of the Iranian people, from the "glory days" of Persia to the overthrow of Mohammed Riza Shah and the rise of the Ayatollah Khomeini. Through many centuries, Islamic Iran fell repeatedly to invaders--Turks, Mongols, Afghans, Russians, and the British--only to spring back and reassert its cultural and spiritual autonomy while absorbing elements of other civilizations. But after the 1950s, rapid modernization disturbed every facet of Iranian life. Mackey shows how Iran's pendulum swung from nationalism to monarchism to rigid Shia fundamentalism, while also offering harsh judgment of Western attitudes and policies toward Iran.
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:13 -0400)
In The Iranians, eminent Middle East expert Sandra Mackey brings us invaluable understanding of a complex, contradictory, and sometimes volatile people. Beginning with the ancient Persian empires that ruled from India to Greece and later humbled mighty Rome, and tracking the waves of invasions that culminated in the triumph of the Arabs under the banner of Islam, she delineates the opposing poles of identity and power that have vied for the Iranian state and the Iranian soul. On the one hand, there is the Persian concept of kingship, in which the nation is guided toward its destiny by a single strong ruler. On the other, there is the Islamic concept of a community of believers in which the faith of Muhammad reigns supreme over every facet of life. This dramatic conflict has played itself out over centuries, intensifying in the twentieth century when Iranians also confronted the issue of modernization in the mode of the West. In the last decades, the Iranians' intertwined destinies of Persia and Islam resulted in the violent shift of leadership and policy from the imperious "King of Kings," Muhammad Reza Shah, to the zealous Ayatollah Khomeini. Without a current icon of culture and authority, the Iranians now struggle with their present and search for their future in the decaying Iranian Revolution. The author's personal knowledge of Iran gives her book a superbly human dimension. Sandra Mackey has more unrestricted movement within the Iranian Islamic Republic than any other American journalist. Her eyewitness account gives the reader a uniquely authentic present-day picture of Iran and the Iranians from the cities to the countryside and from humble mosques to the chaotic political arena governed by the clerics of Shia Islam, as pressures build for a new definition of revolutionary Iran that may well shake the region and the world.
(summary from another edition)
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